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Jets top Oilers 5-2 for first win of the regular season

Ehlers nets second career hat trick; Hellebuyck stops 37 shots in win

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

Video: POSTGAME | JetsTV Road Report

EDMONTON, Alberta - The storyline was similar to Saturday night in Calgary, but with one big difference.

The Winnipeg Jets held a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes, and for the second straight game, their opponent rallied back to tie the game with two goals in 40 seconds.

That's where it all changed.

A time-out from head coach Paul Maurice seemed to calm the team down, and paved the way for Nikolaj Ehlers to score three straight goals, and help the Jets to a 5-2 win, their first victory of the regular season.

"That was a great time-out - great timing for it. I think we were saying the right things after they scored the first goal. They bang home a second one. It was a great time to slow it down and remind everyone what we're looking for," said Wheeler, who played in his 700th career NHL game tonight.

"Straight lines, nothing fancy, don't reinvent the wheel, now is not the time to go take the lead. We just need to bang out a few good shifts and try to get the momentum back in our favour. I thought we did that. Go figure, shortly there after we bang home a couple and take over the game."

Video: WPG@EDM: Ehlers buries one-timer for hat trick

The line of Ehlers, Wheeler, and Mark Scheifele combined for 10 points in the win. In the mind of Maurice though, it was how the line played defensively that stood out.

"Nik scores the three, but that's the most dominant Wheeler and Scheifele have been going both ways," said Maurice, who picked up his 137th win behind the Jets bench to become the new franchise leader. "Those are two periods in terms of all the things you want out of your leadership. Those are the two best periods I've seen Scheifele play, just driving the game.

"How they get the puck from our end to their end. It was simple. When there was nothing there, they got pucks deep, and made real good decisions. They played hard. Scheifs' back check in the second period to the off side, those are important things from a leadership point of view. "

Video: WPG@EDM: Kulikov beats Talbot with nifty snipe

Dmitry Kulikov's first point as a Jet helped his team open the scoring. He put the puck on net from the high slot, and Scheifele - moving from the corner to the front of the net - found the puck on his backhand just outside the crease. Reacting quickly, Scheifele spun around and sent a shot on goal, beating Talbot on the stick side for Scheifele's third goal in three games.

Kulikov followed his first point as a Jet by burying his first goal with the club to extend the lead. He took a drop pass from Nikolaj Ehlers near the top of the circle, and when the Oilers defenders backed off, Kulikov moved a few feet closer to Talbot, and ripped a wrist shot past the Edmonton netminder to make it 2-0.

Connor Hellebuyck was busy in the first period, making 20 of his 37 saves in the opening frame.

"I think that's what goalies are for. It's early in the year and we're finding our groove on our PK. One save leads to another, and now everyone is buzzing. Look at what we did at the end there, we pretty much shut them down," said Hellebuyck. "I'm really proud of the guys in front of me. I think everyone here really dug in and dug deep, and pulled out a team win tonight."

Video: WPG@EDM: Scheifele spins and scores on Talbot

For the first 12 minutes of the second, the Jets kept the Oilers to five shots on Hellebuyck, but in a span of 40 seconds, Edmonton turned a 2-0 deficit into a tie game.

First, Connor McDavid corralled the puck in the Jets zone near the goal line to the left of Hellebuyck, and found a streaking Leon Draisaitl high in the Winnipeg zone. Draisaitl made a quick move around Bryan Little, and sent a wrist shot low stick side on Hellebuyck.

Then shortly after a Shawn Matthias chance, Darnell Nurse threaded a neutral zone pass to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who broke in on a partial break on Hellebuyck, and was able to lift a shot over a diving Hellebuyck and under the crossbar to tie the game up.

Video: WPG@EDM: Ehlers, Wheeler combine for great goal

Three minutes later though, Nikolaj Ehlers turned the momentum back in the Jets favour. Coming over the Edmonton line with possession, Ehlers used defencemen Kris Russell as a partial screen, and sent a laser of a wrist shot off the inside of the post and in.

Just over 100 seconds later, Ehlers struck again. This time, Scheifele began the play down the wall by stopping up just below the hashmarks and sending a backhand pass to Wheeler, who found a lane between two Oilers defenders, creating a 2-on-1 from the top of the circle. The Jets captain slid a feed under the stick of Oscar Klefbom to Ehlers, who one-timed his second of the night past Talbot.

Ehlers completed the hat trick with 1:14 left in regulation, hammering a pass from Mark Scheifele on the power play into the yawning cage past Talbot's outstretched glove.

"I play with two great players where it's a lot of back door tap ins," said Ehlers. "It feels pretty good. We played well today. We played simple and hard, and played fast. We were able to find those holes. We have to find a way to keep that going."

Next up for the Jets is a match up with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.

ICE CHIPS

Dustin Byfuglien didn't play in the win over Edmonton. The veteran was a late scratch due to a lower-body injury, and Maurice listed the defenceman as day-to-day.

With Byfuglien out, Tucker Poolman made his NHL debut paired with Toby Enstrom. The University of North Dakota alum had two shots on goal, two shot blocks, and one hit in 14:30 of ice time.

"He's just a smart defence man with the puck," said Maurice. "The two offensive zone face-offs at the end of the game, he doesn't get them blocked. He rips them back on the strong side boards. He's just a smart man."

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